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WIN A DATE WITH TAD HAMILTON! (PG-13) (2004)

DreamWorks SKG

Official Site

Director: Robert Luketic

Producers: Douglas Wick, Lucy Fisher

Written by: Victor Levin

Cast: Kate Bosworth, Topher Grace, Josh Duhamel, Gary Cole, Ginnifer Goodwin, Sean Hayes, Nathan Lane, Kathryn Hahn

Rating: out of 5

Win A Date With Tad Hamilton! begins with credits that proceed like an MTV commercial—bright colors, flashy animation, and upbeat music. It’s fun, but not substantial in the least way. Regrettably, the same pattern continues when the live-action movie begins. For a romantic comedy, it was neither romantic nor funny.

The plot is a simple love triangle. Rosalee (Bosworth), Pete (Grace) and Cathy (Goodwin) are three friends as well as employees at the local Piggly Wiggly grocery store in fictional Fraziers Bottom, West Virginia. Rosalee wins an online promotional contest for a date with movie star Tad Hamilton (Duhamel) and is flown off to Hollywood where she charms the megastar with her pretty face and small-town values. Much to the chagrin of Pete, who has secretly loved Rosalee for years, Tad arrives in Pete’s own territory—the Piggly Wiggly that he manages—hoping to establish a stronger relationship with Rosalee. She, on the other hand, is swept off her feet in a whirlwind of Tad attention, and Pete wonders how he’ll ever win her back. There is also a local bartender (Hanh) who likes Pete, but this storyline is so little developed that it might as well have been non-existent.

I must admit, I like going to romantic comedies for the “awww” factor. It’s the times when a character does or says something so sweet that all you can do in response is tilt your head to the side and say “awww.” Win A Date With Tad Hamilton! had very few sigh-worthy moments, with perhaps the only true “awww” coming at the very end. The majority of the movie seemed too contrived and straightforward. Supposedly meaningful speeches sounded like lectures on morality, and nothing was quite believable. For example, when Tad explains to Rosalee why he’s come to West Virginia, he looks her straight in the eye and says, “I want your goodness to rub off on me.” Perhaps I was supposed to swoon over this statement, but it lacked emotional power, logic (even by movie standards), and thus any affect on me.

Kate Bosworth as Rosalee Futch is cute, and bats her eyes and flashes her toothy grin for all they’re worth. However, Rosalee’s character isn’t interesting enough to merit so much attention from the two leading men. Her part is that of the girl next door, the moral center, the best friend you’ve had a secret crush on. Instead, what we get is a girl who looks glamorous even when she’s working at the grocery store, who is often willing to throw away all her morals but is continuously saved by unfortunate timing, and who acts distant around the boy she’s supposed to have known for 22 years.

As for the other actors, Topher Grace does well as the exasperated victim of unrequited love. He serves up a good mixture of disbelief, rolling of eyes and sarcasm that provide bright moments in an otherwise dull picture. Josh Duhamel’s Tad is good-looking and not an egotistical jerk, but goes little beyond that. Nathan Lane and Sean Hayes play Tad Hamilton’s agent Richard Levy and publicist Richard Levy, respectively. I think the name thing was supposed to be a joke, but it’s not a very good one.

I love the idea of having a small-town girl meet a Hollywood star and uncovering the conflicts that arise. Unfortunately, Win A Date With Tad Hamilton! tries too hard to be an earnest, heart-felt movie and ends up being bland and unceremonious.

—Kelly Hsu

 

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



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